From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 2—Described as "a picture book in five acts," this energetic tale centers on a young shrew famous for her temper tantrums. Her family has given up trying to reason with her and simply acquiesces to her demands. Then her equally belligerent cousin Lester comes to visit. After arguing each other into exhaustion, Lola suggests that they would both benefit from being conciliatory. And so they begin to share, and to form a lifelong friendship. In a framing story, an elderly Lola tells the tale to her granddaughter, showing that, though she may have been "tamed" by the experience, she has lost none of her prickliness. "Screaming is relaxing," she tells the young shrew in one inset. "You should try it sometime." Smath's busy watercolor cartoons teem with funny characters and expressions, and match Lola's big personality. The message is clear: although Lola learns how to compromise, she can still embrace her essential nature. Everyone knows a Lola.—Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, MD
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Quarrels can provide fun drama, and in this hilarious picture book about a shrew family, grumpy Granny Lola tells a story about when she was little that is far from a tale of youthful innocence. According to Granny’s yarn, when she behaved badly as a child, she got everything that she wanted. Little Lola is tiny, but she has a huge temper, and the ink-and-watercolor pictures show her in frilly skirts acting with such stubbornness and bad temper that everyone just lets her have her way. Then her cousin Lester comes to stay, and he is worse than she is. The cousins yell at each other, nose to nose: “I’m in charge!” “Says who?” “Well I don’t care if you care!” The fighting only stops when they both fall asleep exhausted (“Screaming is relaxing. You should try it some time”). The final wry twist brings a satisfying surprise. Adults will get the Shakespeare reference, but for kids, the children’s triumph over the powerful grown-ups is the best part of the story. A great read-aloud. Preschool-Grade 3. --Hazel Rochman